Two headed to West Point

Published 10:28 am Thursday, June 7, 2018

Two Davie High seniors are among the select few who have been offered admission to the prestigious United States Military Academy at West Point, and not only are they classmates, but also close friends.

Jared Dequenne, 18, and Crayton Wise, 18, will leave Davie County July 2 for the campus, located 50 miles north of New York City. There, they will join others, believed to be among the nation’s most promising students. The academy selects those who have not only proved themselves academically, but also physically and morally. According to West Point’s class profile information, over 11,000 men apply each year but just over 1,000 are admitted. (The academy is also open to women.)

Their four-year education is fully-paid, and when they graduate, they will be Army officers with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. They will be required to commit to five years active duty and two years in the reserves. When asked if they had any concerns about active duty, their genuine patriotism and confidence was almost overwhelming.

“I 100 percent love Davie County. I’m not worried about active duty. If somebody has to do it, then why not me? Most people I have met truly do not understand the concept of duty to one’s country. I feel obligated to protect this country and its people. If America’s sons and daughters are called to battle, I do not want to be a bystander. I want to be the one leading the charge,” Wise said.

Dequenne, who has been friends with Wise since sixth grade and comes from a military background, said, “I want to protect my family. I’m willing to take the responsibility and be a leader. And there’s no other guy I’d want to do this with than Crayton.”

Both plan to make a career in the military and said they’d likely never return to Davie to live.

At West Point, their days will consist of academics, military training, and physical activities. They will dress in uniform each day. For the first six weeks, during cadet basic training, they are only allowed to call home two times and are not told in advance when those times will be. They cannot use any technology but may write letters. Their allowed luggage is one backpack.

Cadets are required to participate in an athletic sport, and Dequenne will likely choose track and field, as he has been a standout in that in high school, earning a varsity letter in indoor and outdoor track and field. He was also varsity captain. Wise is interested in combat sports and has studied extensively in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai and is a four-year member of combat wrestling club.

Dequenne is the son of Damon and Bernadette Dequenne of Mocksville. He received several awards for track and field, while maintaining a 4.34 weighted GPA. He is a member of the National Honor Society, is a junior Civitan, and is on the STEM Speakers Bureau. He has worked doing landscaping and residential painting and has volunteered at the Storehouse for Jesus, the Special Olympics and at track and field summer camp. He was nominated for admission by Sen. Richard Burr and Rep. Ted Budd and said he first heard about West Point while in middle school. From that moment, he said, he did everything he could do to ensure his chances of being admitted, focusing on academics, maintaining a strong work ethic and morality, and becoming physically strong.

“When I find something I want, I dedicate myself to it. With everything we (he and Wise) do, we strive to be the most elite, and we are competitive in everything we do. We’ve worked really hard to get in,” he said. “Being as organized and disciplined as I am, coming from a military family (grandparents, uncles and father), West Point looked to me to be a perfect fit. One of the best parts of this process was having one of my good friends going through it with me. With both of us being competitive, it drove us to succeed.”

Wise is the son of Tad and Amanda Wise of Advance. He said he grew up listening to his grandfather’s exploits of his Vietnam experiences and his great-grandfather’s 27-year Army career. Wise is a Scholar Athlete and was a two-time recipient of an academic excellence award. He is a member of the National Honor Society, is a student liaison in the Davie County United Way and is a Davie High School Ambassador. He has racked up several athletic awards in wrestling and is team captain.

Wise has been a volunteer for the United Way, the humane society, the preschool at Macedonia Moravian Church and in the Forsyth County GOP. He has worked at a local restaurant, in landscaping and on a farm. The grueling interview process for West Point, which included “eight people in chairs staring at you,” did not deter Wise from his goal of being in the military, which he said he was put on this earth to do.

“Some of my friends think I am absolutely nuts to want to attend this military institution. I see my desire to attend as a wish to surround myself with likeminded people who will push me to become a better Crayton. Along with the physical training and leadership opportunities, I know I will be getting one of the best educations available in the United States which will steer me to my choice career,” Wise said.